The Republic Bank Mashramani Panorama Competition will once again light up local theatres as representatives of Republic Bank Guyana on Wednesday handed over the sponsorship cheque, which will facilitate the annual steel band competition. The cheque amounting to $2.8 million was received by Social Cohesion Ministry Permanent Secretary Melissa Tucker.The Panorama competition first began in 2009 with three bands and has grown over the past 10 years into a major Mashramani event. Speaking about the initiative, Republic Bank representative Celine Davis noted that the company believed that facilitating the competition was its corporate responsibility. She further stated that the company could be depended upon to sponsor the competition for many years to come.This year’s competition will see participation from 13 school bands, three large bands and an undisclosed number of youth bands. The competition is divided into five categories namely: school and youth band, large bands, junior and senior solo, pan jazz, and pan duet.Republic Bank public relations representative Jonelle Dummet highlighted the company’s fostering of steel bands outside of the Panorama competition. Dummet explained that the Republic Bank Ltd “Right Start Music Literacy Programme”, which is held over the August holidays teaches and furthers steel pan skills in students. The programme curriculum includes the history of steel pan, theory and practice. Some 1000 persons are said to have passed through the programme, most of those students are usually a part of the Panorama competition.Aside from Republic Bank’s involvement, the Government is also seeking to strengthen steel bands in Guyana. Coordinator Tyndall explained that over a five-year period, 15 new steel bands would be introduced within the school system “and that is supported by the School Steel Bands development programme which is dispatching instructors to these schools to promote training for children in that area”.The first leg of the Panorama competition will be held at the Theatre Guild on February 15, 2018. This segment will see the junior and senior solo, pan jazz and pan duet categories. The larger segment will be held at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall and will see the school and youth band and large band segments of the competition. This will begin on February 18, 2018.